Hospice Volunteers

What exactly do Patient Care Volunteers do at Hospice?

Volunteers provide much-needed services for Hospice patients and families. They may sit with the patient while the family goes out for a much needed break. Volunteers might help by running errands, helping with chores around the house, and always Family Care Giver Volunteers provide a great deal of emotional support to the patient and family. Family Care Giver Volunteers are friendly companions and not expected to perform hands on care.


Will I be given adequate training to be able to really help? I am not sure I would know what to do.

Prospective Hospice volunteers complete a 20-person hour preparation program that deals with all aspects of Hospice care and helps volunteers feel confident and reassured about helping someone at end of life.

Do volunteers have any say in where they are assigned and what tasks they would be doing?

Absolutely. Each volunteer immediately after the training is completed meets with the volunteer manager and discusses their own preferences. A volunteer is never expected to do anything that makes them uncomfortable or travel places they prefer not to go.

As a volunteer, how will I know what is expected of me and who do I call for help and information?

As a volunteer you are considered a member of the Hospice team. Which consists of a nurse, a social worker, a chaplain. Each Hospice patient and family has their own individual plan of care and volunteers will have very clear information about how they will be helping. Hospice is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year so there is always someone to help only a phone call away.

What if I get emotionally attached to a patient and family? Isn’t it hard when patients die? How do I handle that?

Often volunteers become close to the patients and families they help. The volunteer coordinators are always available for help and support. Volunteers have two opportunities each month to meet together and talk about their experiences and share concerns and ideas. Volunteers also receive ongoing education with hospice staff at the Hospice Offices. We also have social/fun gatherings for the Family Care Giver Volunteers.

How do I get more information?

Call the Hospice office at 315-634-1100 and speak with Michele Devlin or Pennie Stagnitta in the Volunteer Department. Click here for a flyer about our next training class.